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External debt up at USD 440 bn pumped by NRI deposits

Posted on Aug 29 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 29 : Notwithstanding the increase in India's external debt stock during 2013-14 to over USD 440 billion, crucial debt indicators such as external debt-GDP ratio and debt service ratio remained in the comfort zone

In its annual publication titled 'India's external debt: A status report 2013-14' released here Friday, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) said the rise in external debt was due to long-term debt, particularly NRI deposits.

"The surge in NRI deposits reflected the impact of fresh FCNR(B) deposits mobilised under the swap scheme during September-November 2013 to tide over the difficult BoP (balance of payments) situation in the initial parts of the year," the DEA said.

The country's external debt stock increased 7.6 percent over the last fiscal and stood at USD 440.6 billion at end-March 2014, increasing by USD 31.2 billion over that at end-March 2013.

External debt of the country continues to be dominated by the long-term borrowings.

Long-term external debt at the end of the last fiscal was USD 351.4 billion, an increase of 12.4 percent over the level at end-March 2013. It accounted for 79.7 percent of total external debt at end-March 2014 vis-a-vis 76.4 percent at end-March 2013.

Short-term external debt declined 7.7 percent over March 2013, and stood at USD 89.2 billion at end-March 2014, owing to the compression in import arising from the slowdown in aggregate demand and restrictions on gold imports.

The share of short-term external debt in total external debt declined from 23.6 percent at end-March 2013 to 20.3 percent at end-March 2014.

According to the report, India's external debt during 2013-14 has remained within manageable limits as indicated by the external debt-GDP ratio of 23.3 percent and debt service ratio of 5.9 percent.

India's key debt indicators compare well with other indebted developing countries. According to the World Bank's International Debt Statistics, 2014, India's position in 2012 was third in terms of absolute external debt stock, after China and Brazil.

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